I just got off the phone with a sweet and understanding customer-relations person at Apple, and there is still no response to the request from the Government of Israel to pull an iPhone app which calls for a third intifada against Israel:
The country’s Minister for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, Yuli Edelstein, wrote a letter to the computer giant Tuesday voicing concern about the content of the application.
“Upon review of the stories, articles and photos published by means of the application, one can easily see that this is in fact anti-Israel and anti-Zionist. Furthermore, as is implied by its name, the application calls for an uprising against the State of Israel,” he wrote.
The letter asked Apple to yank the Arabic-language application, which allows users to comment and post photos and stories about protests opposing Israel and Israeli policies.
According to Reuters, the app offers a stream of news stories and editorials in Arabic, announces upcoming protests, and includes links to nationalistic Palestinian videos and songs.
I understand that Edelstein’s letter was sent by email to Steve Jobs and various other Apple officials.
The Wiesenthal Center also objected, saying in part that the application, which links to Intifada pages on Facebbook and Twitter, “updates its users on further incitements to protest and violence” and violates Apple’s guidelines against “applications containing references or commentary about a religious, cultural or ethnic group that are defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited or likely to expose the targeted group to harm or violence…”
You can find instructions on how to file a complaint with Apple here.
I am almost certain that the application was carefully developed to skirt Apple’s guidelines. For example, if the content inciting violence actually resides on a Facebook page or Twitter account and the app only facilitates linking to these places — especially if it is configurable — then is the app itself inciting? If the app makes it possible to play ‘patriotic’ Palestinian music, can that violate guidelines?
But apart from the legal issues, there is the moral one. The Palestinian cause is the overthrow of a state and the murder of its inhabitants. Apple’s executives may disagree, but I am right and they are wrong — and I know more about this than they do. If it is their choice to distribute this app, then it is my choice to never buy or recommend another Apple product. And believe me, I won’t.
Here’s a link to another well-known story about a computer company on the dark side: IBM and the Holocaust. Will books be written about Apple and the Intifada as well?
Coincidentally, my wife just left on her way to purchase a smartphone. She had been planning to buy an iPhone, but she will be buying something else.
Updated [1739 PDT]: Apple has removed the app from its App Store on the grounds that it violated their guidelines. Not a moment too soon!